UPDATE: Two men have been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in the attack on the trans women.
MARTA police say they are investigating the attack of two transgender women by several men who were harassing them because of their gender identity.
The video of the fight went viral on www.flyvids.com and shows the two women being verbally harassed before one man threw a kick at one of the women. Her friend, also a trans woman, tried to help defend and she was attacked by another man, leading to a violent brawl. People on the train did not try to stop the fight and instead many cheered and took videos on their phones.
“Nobody tried to help. They were all standing up on chairs and videotaping. That’s how it ended up on so many [web]sites,” Janell Crosby told GA Voice on Monday, one of the women attacked, as she waited to get on a Greyhound bus to New York. Crosby said the attack from one week ago led her to decide to move back to New York where she has family.
Her friend, Tyra Woods, who was stripped naked in the attack, is now in Cleveland, Ohio, staying for family for a few weeks, Crosby said.
“I don’t feel safe here. We don’t get no protection. There are always troublemakers,” Crosby said about moving back to New York.
Crosby said she tried to make a report to a MARTA officer after the attack, buy claims the officer had no interest in taking a report. MARTA has a fairly new slogan of “Ride with Respect” it rolled out to encourage people to report such incidents as well as a “See Something, Say Something” app to encourage people to call MARTA police when they see unlawful activities.
“I told one cop who was following us to the gate. He acted like he didn’t want to hear from us. He didn’t write any statement or anything,” she said.
Crosby said it was last Monday night when she and Woods and other friends were waiting for the train when several men began harassing them and one man began taking photos of them.
“I started going off on the guy taking the photos and he said he was going to hit me and beat me up. And I said, ‘No, you’re not.’ He kept on threatening me and he didn’t like certain things I said to him and he kicked me,” Crosby said.
WSB has a censored version of the video:
To watch the uncensored version [warning: disturbing and NSFW] of the video that shows the faces of the attackers, click here.
Meanwhile, LGBT activists and activist groups are calling for action.
Crosby said she is hurt the video is being seen by so many people on various websites especially because it shows nobody tried to help her or Woods while they were fighting with the two men.
“I really don’t know if people are viewing it for the right thing or to change the situation or laugh at it,” she said.
As for the men who attacked her and Woods, she hopes they are caught and arrested.
“I really want an apology from them and I really want the law put on them,” she said.
Crosby said she also hopes there is a big public outcry and that changes can be made to MARTA to make it safe for all passengers.
MARTA officials have not responded to requests for comment from the GA Voice.
TOWN HALLS PLANNED
Two town hall forums are planned to discuss the attacks on Crosby and Woods. Solutions Not Punishment Coalition is planning one for Tuesday, June 3, at 5:30 p.m. at the Phillip Rush Center. Restoration Inclusive Ministries in Decatur is holding a town hall on June 4 at 7:30 p.m. at its church. The church also has also issued a public statement:
We are writing to express our utter shock, disbelief and disgust over the incident that happened on a MARTA train [last] Tuesday.
Two transgender women were at a MARTA station when two men viciously attacked them. According to the article, the attack started with verbal harassment on the train’s platform but quickly escalated into a physical altercation once the women were on the MARTA train.
According to the victims, the attack occurred because the two assailants wanted to know whether or not they were “real” women. The two women were bullied, taunted, degraded and finally physically assaulted simply because of who they are.
The saddest, and perhaps the most disheartening, aspect of this attack is that onlookers stood idly by. Not one person called 911. Not one person intervened. On a packed train, there was no help provided while these two women fought to protect themselves. If you have not seen the video, we have provided a link below. Please view at your own discretion.
At RIM, we are advocates for equality. As such, it is our belief that each individual in entitled to certain basic human rights. A person’s gender, orientation or physical presentation does not discredit their humanity.
There are so many questions to ask. As a society, how did we get here? Why are our Trans sisters and brothers the subject of such vicious attacks? Moreover, what are we going to do about it?
We will host a Town Hall meeting to discuss these issues on Wednesday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. Please come join local clergy, community leaders and members of our transgender community and be a part of the conversation and a part of the solution.
Sincerely, Rev. Sonya E. Williams Pastor April D. Freeman